KickAss Squad

Borderline experience at the triathlon in Ingolstadt

Fia • 03. June 2022 • 4 Min.

KickAss Squad, I would like to use my latest blog to tell you about the triathlon in Ingolstadt. Even though the race turned out shorter than planned, there is a lot to tell. But let’s start at the beginning. 

Triathlon start in Buschhütten

After my triathlon season opener at the classic in Buschhütten, my first middle distance for this season was on the schedule last weekend. The race in Buschhütten, which I could finish with a good 10th place in a well-known field, gave me a lot of self-confidence for the German Championships in Ingolstadt. I returned from Buschhütten especially satisfied with new watt bests on the bike and also on the run I was able to run a very good pace of 4:24 min/km for my conditions on the final 10 km. 

In the weeks between Buschhütten and my first big highlight of the season, the Audi Triathlon Ingolstadt, Kickass head coach Flo Heck and I focused on training and especially economizing the targeted race pace for the middle distance. The training went well and I was very confident for the upcoming race.

Race week is just around the corner

The race week already indicated that the title fights in Ingolstadt would probably not be a heat battle. The weather forecast was about 15-17 degrees, no rain, which would have been perfect conditions. The tapering went as planned and I was looking forward to standing at the start line together with Nine, Flo, Tino and Franzi Reng from the Kickass Squad. 

© Ricco Hoffmann

Swim fast and find good legs

On race morning the weather was even better than expected. The sky was blue and the sun was shining. I set up my transition area and did a warm-up run together with Nine. Shortly after that the starting gun went off. The swim went really well for me. My goal was to swim out fast and then look for “good legs”. That worked out pretty well and I got out of the Ingolstadt Baggersee in 7th place with a time of 28:33 minutes. The weather was still 1a and I was looking forward to my parade discipline – cycling. But after only about 10 minutes on the bike, it suddenly started to rain very hard. The temperatures plummeted to below 10 degrees and the fight against the cold began. On the way to the second turning point of the bike course I was still sure that the rain would surely stop soon. Unfortunately, this did not prove to be true and a freezing wind came along. My whole body was shaking, I couldn’t feel my hands and feet anymore, braking and shifting gears became almost impossible. After I somehow circled around the turning point, I slowly realized that I would not survive a second bike lap. My only goal was to get back to Ingolstadt. Back to my supporters, back to a jacket or a blanket.

I can’t drop out like that 

By now I was in 6th place and although I could only pedal very low watts, I was not overtaken by another woman. I can’t drop out now, was my thought. The way back to Ingolstadt feels infinitely long and I was happy when I could finally see the town sign. Shortly behind it was my family. I stopped at their place and got out of the race completely hypothermic and in tears. After only 40 km the race was over for me.

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50% of all starters finished the Triathlon Ingolstadt early

At this point I didn’t realize that about 50% of all starters in the middle distance had the same experience as me. We waited almost a quarter of an hour for a rescue blanket – these had run out in the meantime due to the many hypothermic triathletes. Nobody could have expected this weather beforehand. There were chaos-like conditions on the course. All ambulances, police cars and fire engines were full of athletes who had to be taken care of. Several, partly heavy, bicycle crashes came in addition. On the athletes camping place a gigantic tree fell down, fortunately nobody was hurt and there was only a larger material damage. 

With a little distance, I am just glad that I survived the day unscathed – even if the disappointment is of course already deep. I wanted to fight for the German championship title in my age group and the race was my sporting highlight this year. 

My greatest respect goes to all who managed to finish the race. From the Kickass Squad the two coaches Nine and Tino, for example. Chapeau! 

Franzi Reng, Flo and I were unfortunately part of the very long DNF list.

And what´s next?

To distract myself, I’m going to do a bike race this week and try to beat my 10 km best time on the run. Thanks to my coach Flo, who understands my situation and supports my plans without ifs and buts. 

I will give myself a few more days and then sign up for another middle distance. I don’t know yet which one it will be and I am grateful for every tip!

Your Fia

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